In Funk's Corner

Our Thanks to WWF
This week in Daytona, Lakeland and Ft. Myers Florida the Funking Conservatory was privileged to provide
matches for the World Wrestling Federation. Our thanks to the WWF, the talent relations department and
the McMahon family.
Lounge on the Ground Floor of the Senator Hotel

The two opponents were face to face, just a few inches apart. This was the stare down, the psychological
part of the contest. This is the way it was. St. Louis, Missouri for the championship, Terry Funk vs Harley
Race. I could hear someone yell from just a few feet away, "I am putting my money on Terry Funk. Do I
have any takers." "Here's twenty dollars on Harley Race," came from another fan. "all right your covered,
Funk is the best."

Terry reached for the can opener and widened the opening on one side of the Budweiser can of beer, then
handed the opener to Harley. This match was taking place in the lounge on the ground floor of the Senator
Hotel in St. Louis after the other matches a few blocks over at the Kiel Auditorium. I was the trusted one to
start and officiate this contest. Terry and Harley were facing each other holding the Budweiser cans on the
table, staring eyeball to eyeball, ready for action. I said,
"Get Set--------

Funking Conservatory's Ricky Noble and Adam Windsor / Lakeland, Florida / WWF / 11/24/01

E-mail Dory Funk Jr.
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St. Louis was a great town to work. When I first came here, Gene Kiniski would tell me, "Listen Kid, I don't
want to catch you staying at the Claridge Hotel or at the Senator Hotel where all the other wrestlers stay.
You stay at a first class hotel, the Jefferson Hotel over on 12th street. I want to always see you in a suit or a
sport coat. If you are going to make it to the top, you have got to dress and live like you are at the top. When
you go into the ring, I want to see some wrestling holds, not just meat chopping. The sign out front says wrestling
and that is what people want to see." Gene was my mentor and at times caretaker. Strange that he was the one
I defeated in '69 for the world championship.

Now I was champion. I had hit the big time even though I was still a West Texas Kid on the inside.

Sam ran a tight ship in St. Louis. No abuse of the officials was allowed, there was a medical examination before
participating, no foreign objects in the ring, no two men on the floor at the same time, wrestlers were instructed to
keep it a contest and work for the pin fall, and to top that off the ring in St. Louis was one of the hardest in the
business. Everyone received a lecture on what was expected of them prior to the show from either Bobby Bruns
or Pat O'Connor.

Terry was on the card that night and in violation of all the rules, he had one of his "ECW style matches." As the blood
flowed and the Referee was knocked on his ass and the announcer's table was crushed, the fans turned to Sam
Muchnick who was sitting beside Congressman Mel Price in a special box seat. They were cursing Sam for letting the
wrestlers get out of control. I saw Sam cringe as he escaped to the dressing room to avoid the wrath of the fans. Terry's
match was  great but different than people in St. Louis were used to seeing. After his match, Terry was sitting in my
dressing room dripping in blood saying, "Where is Sam, Why isn't Sam here to congratulate me on my match, Did
Sam watch my match??? Junior, Why isn't Sam here???"

Power Slam by Ricky Noble on Windsor

I was on last that night. My opponent was Rufus R. Jones, formerly known as Buster Loydd. (My father, Dory Funk Sr.
gave him the name, Rufus R. Jones in 1968 and he carried it until his death.) I wrestled Rufus to a sixty minute draw.
It was the largest house ever in the Kiel, sold out in advance. Sam billed it as the first time in St. Louis a black man
challenged for the world title. Pat O'Connor was the special referee. I gave Pat hell after the match for coaching Rufus
in the ring. Rufus was one of Pat's favorites in the Kansas City territory.

In St. Louis and in many other territories we were paid in cash after the match. Sam was one of the best to work for
on top. The NWA Champion's pay was ten percent of the gate. After the match I went over to the Jefferson Hotel
where I hid most of my pay as far under the mattress of my hotel bed as I could reach. Next, I walked across the
street to meet Sam and his guest, Congressman Mel Price, at the Bismark Restaurant. It was Sam's favorite place to
eat. The food was excellent. I loved to order the prime rib and turtle soup with a bit of Sherry added to the soup.
Lowenbrau was the beer of choice. I visited with Sam, his wonderful wife Helen, Congressman Price and his wife
and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere. Somehow I never got around to talking about Terry's match that night. The food
was delicious and the conversation pleasant. Sam would ask about business in other territories and what wrestlers were
drawing money.

After dinner I knew that things would be just heating up over at the lounge on the ground floor of the Senator Hotel.
It was just a short walk from 12th street over to the corner of 8th and Olive St. where the party was in progress.
Most of the wrestlers on the card at the Kiel were now at the lounge. This was completely against policy of the St. Louis
wrestling office for heels and faces to be in the same public place however, everyone knew that Sam Muchnick would
never lower himself to enter a place like the lounge on the ground floor of the Senator Hotel and besides that, we all
tried to sit at different tables.

At the lounge that night were Barron von Raschke, Black Jack Lanza, Bobby Hennan, Harley Race, Terry Funk, Waldo
von Erich, Leo Burk, Leo's brother The Beast, Stan Staisiak, Ox Baker, Dewey Roberton, (Later to become the Missing
Link} and many others. They were joined by fans and, "ladies supportive of the wrestling business."

In the words of Harley Race, "If Sam would ever lower himself to step into the lounge on the ground floor of the Senator
Hotel after the matches at the Kiel, we would all be fired."

Flying Elbow by Windsor on Noble

E-mail Dory Funk Jr.
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"Go!!"   Both Budweiser cans of beer were up and down on the table faster than you could imagine. It was like the
cans couldn't possibly be empty. I checked both cans and called it as I saw it, Terry was the winner. The man who
bet on Harley threw the twenty dollar bill on the table and said, "Paid as agreed." Harley grabbed his hand and growled,
"Don't you pay him!! Terry Funk didn't beat me killing a beer, nobody can beat me at this, I can beat anybody in the
world, I am the best and don't you pay Terry Funk a nickel."

Terry looked at me and said, "Junior, I knew it, I knew I shouldn't beat Harley. He just gets so mad. Harley can't stand
to lose at anything. Harley will never forget and he will get even.

Six years later on February 6th 1977 in Toronto, Canada Harley Race met and defeated Terry Funk to become NWA
World Heavyweight Champion for the second time.

I stand by my decision. That night in the lounge on the ground floor of the Senator Hotel, Terry's can was on the table
first and both were empty. Terry won the Budweiser Beer Killing Match!!

But, He lost the big one in Toronto.

The winner, The Funking Conservatory. Our thanks to the World Wrestling Federation

E-mail Dory Funk Jr.
Visit Dory Funk's Home Page
Join the Funking Conservatory